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November 14, 2022

10 Essential Skills to Succeed on the Next Generation NCLEX & As A Nurse


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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As we know, nurses are crucial to medicine, and the field is growing. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the federal government projects that more than 203,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year from 2021-2031. To be an effective nurse, you must develop many soft and clinical skills.

We’ve highlighted 5 soft skills and 5 clinical skills to help you succeed on the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) and as a nurse. We’ve also identified the ways that UbiSim VR can help learners develop each skill. We know the process of becoming a nurse well as we offer immersive virtual reality simulations to train nurses.

Soft skills

1. Communication

Both verbal and nonverbal communication are essential to being a nurse. With verbal communication, it’s important to speak clearly, respectfully, and honestly to patients, family members, and other members of the healthcare team. With nonverbal communication, it’s important to maintain proper eye contact but not stare, to lean forward to show you’re engaged and to nod your head.How UbiSim helps build communication: Learners can practice therapeutic communication and education with their patients and their family members, communicate with the interprofessional team using SBAR communication, and collaborate with teammates or peers if using multiplayer. UbiSim does not have menu-based communication, so learners can authentically converse with the patient and others in the room by explaining the plan of care, providing reassurance, and, sometimes answering tough questions.

2. Compassion

Having compassion is another essential skill for nurses. Developing empathy for patients’ situations can go a long way in helping them feel understood and heard. It’s not only a nice thing to do; a study shows that: “Providing compassionate nursing care can lead to higher satisfaction in patients, safer care, saving time and cost, a sense of satisfaction and effectiveness in the personnel, higher confidence, and coping skills in them.”While compassion is important, compassion fatigue is also real and it’s important to take care of yourself in the process.How UbiSim helps build compassion: We have a variety of situations available in VR, such as an elderly woman with type 2 diabetes, a postoperative patient who needs pain management, and an adult male with heart failure and depression that enable learners to practice their compassion skills.

3. Professionalism

The University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences states, “Nursing professionalism is about demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the vocation and the willingness to deliver the highest-quality care to patients continuously.” Advocating for patients, maintaining your integrity, and delivering top-quality care are ways to show professionalism effectively.How UbiSim helps build professionalism: UbiSim provides learners with the opportunity to practice delivering evidence-based care in a safe environment and encourages learners to continually improve their practice by reviewing constructive feedback and reflecting on their experience. Patients in UbiSim have various realistic physical and psychosocial needs, which allow learners to practice advocacy and deliver safe, effective nursing care.

4. Teamwork

Teamwork has a variety of benefits and many of them are tangible outcomes. According to a BMC Nursing study, “Teamwork builds on employee cohesion and reduces medical and nursing errors, resulting in greater patient satisfaction and improved healthcare.” According to, some key elements of good teamwork are accountability, coordination, collaboration, and being supportive of one another.How UbiSim helps build teamwork: We offer a variety of ways to engage with our platform and they’re all collaborative. An instructor and a learner can work together, or one learner can be in VR while another learner triggers patient dialog from a  laptop screen. Learners can also do multiplayer, playing from the same place or multiple settings, encouraging teamwork.

5. Time Management

Nursing is incredibly demanding, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Time management is crucial to success. Nurses must juggle patient needs, administrative tasks, and professional development opportunities and requirements. According to, some ways they can practice time management are, by organizing, prioritizing, and delegating tasks.How UbiSim helps build time management: Caring for patients in UbiSim is highly realistic with a sense of urgency. Vital signs change, physical assessment findings evolve, lab results become available, and family members ask questions. Learners have the flexibility to practice time management in UbiSim as they plan and prioritize which assessments to perform and which interventions to implement or delegate according to their assessment findings. Prioritization under dynamic conditions prepares learners for the NGN and actual nursing practice.

Clinical skills

1. Checking and monitoring vital signs

Vital signs are measurements of the body's most basic functions. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there are four main vital signs you should take:

  • Body temperature
  • Pulse rate
  • Respiration rate (rate of breathing)
  • Blood pressure

Checking and monitoring vital signs in UbiSim: Learners can assess heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen saturation in patients.  When learners gather information and data on their patients, they must also determine what information is salient. Immersive VR simulation is an ideal way to practice this safely.

2. Head-to-toe and focused assessment skills

A head-to-toe assessment is an exhaustive process that checks the health status of all major body systems. A focused assessment is a detailed nursing assessment of a specific body part or system related to the presenting problem. Both are critically important as a nurse. Head-to-toe and focused assessment skills in UbiSim: Learners can perform a head-to-toe assessment or focused assessment, depending on the patient's presentation. This assessment can include neurological, respiratory, cardiac, integumentary, abdominal, pain, and mental health assessments across the lifespan.

3. Independent Nursing Interventions

Independent nursing interventions are what nurses can perform without the instruction of a provider/physician. These interventions can include educating patients on how to take medications or repositioning them. They’re meant to help the patient’s comfort level and health. Independent Nursing Interventions in UbiSim: Nurse learners can practice the following independent nursing interventions): Raising the head of the bed to increase oxygenation, lowering the head of the bed to help with hypotension, turning a pregnant patient on her left lateral side to improve maternal hemodynamics and increase perfusion to the fetus, deciding to call the provider and recommend orders, providing non-pharmacologic pain interventions.

4. Medication Administration

Medication administration practice is essential. According to, The "Ten Rights of Medication Administration" are the right, or correct:

  • Medication
  • Dose
  • Time or frequency
  • Patient
  • Route
  • Client education
  • Documentation
  • Right to refuse
  • Assessment and
  • Evaluation

Medication Administrationin UbiSim: Learners can practice medication administration with multiple routes of administration (nebulizer, inhaler, oral, subcutaneous injection, intramuscular injection, IV infusion, & IV push). In addition, learners can administer medications with context (understand the rationale of why the patient is getting the medication, and if the patient should receive the medication according to the patient's presentation).

5. Clinical Judgment

The NCSBN Clinical Judgment Measurement Model (NCJMM) was developed to measure clinical judgment and decision-making within a clinical setting. It’s an important part of the NGN and safe clinical practice. Clinical judgment is an accumulation of skills and knowledge over time that allows nurses to make evidence-based decisions. Learners get to practice all 6 steps of clinical judgment in the Clinical Judgment Measurement Model. Clinical Judgment in UbiSim: Learners can practice all 6 steps of clinical judgment by recognizing cues, analyzing cues, prioritizing hypotheses, generating solutions, taking action, and evaluating outcomes in each UbiSim scenario.Did you enjoy learning more about NGN nursing skills and UbiSim’s applications? At UbiSim, our mission is to make immersive virtual reality practical and useful for nursing education. We aim for our technology to bridge the gap between knowledge and application. Contact us for a free demo today!

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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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